donít know if this happened to you or not, but did you ever park your car
on a hill, only to slowly see it start rolling away after you come out of
the store? Granted, this is a worst-case scenario, and how many people
donít put the car in gear while parked? Regardless, the parking brakes
eventually wear down over time, causing them to become ineffective in
holding the car when parked. In this tech article, I will go over the
relatively easy steps involved in adjusting the parking brakes on the BMW
E36 3 Series models from 1992-99.
brakes work essentially like a drum style brake. There are two shoes mounted
on the inside of the brake rotor. When you pull up on the handbrake, it
drives the shoes outward, causing them to grip the inside of the brake
rotor. Over time, friction wears the shoes down, causing them to not grip
the inside of the rotor. The solution is to re-adjust the shoes so that they
again come into contact with the rotor.
how it is done. Start off by chocking the front wheels. This will keep the
car from rolling when you jack up the rear wheels. Now remove one lug bolt
from each rear wheel. We only need to remove one. Now begin to raise the
rear end. For those of you not familiar with jacking up the rear end, I
highly recommend you check out Wayneís article on jacking up your BMW.
sure to jack the car up on a structural member. Otherwise, you risk damaging
the chassis. I have seen jacks go through floorboards on cars before. Also
be sure to support the car on jack stands. NEVER rely on a jack to keep the
car up in the air.
jacked up, put the car in neutral, release the handbrake and pump the brakes
a few times to seat the pads. Remove the rubber boot around the handbrake.
You will now see two nuts in front of the lever. These nuts are used to
adjust the parking brake. Loosen these nuts until the cables are completely
go to the rear wheels. Put the car in neutral and make sure the handbrake is
released. Now rotate the wheel by hand until the lug bolt hole lines up with
the parking brake adjuster. This will be located about 65 degrees off
centerline. If you are looking at the wheel, imagine that the very top is 0
degrees, now go right until you reach 65 degrees (about 1/8 rotation around
the wheel) Once you have found the adjuster, use a screwdriver to reach in
and turn the adjuster until the wheel no longer turns. Once the wheel stops
turning, back the adjuster off slightly.
go back inside the car and set the parking brake a few times to seat the
cables, and then release the parking brake. Now slowly pull the handbrake
until it clicks four times. This is the position we need to have the brake
at in order to adjust it. Tighten the adjusting nuts evenly on both sides
until you are just able to turn the rear wheels with slight resistance.
the rubber boot over the parking brake handle and lower the car. Once on the
ground, re-install the lug bolts in the rear.
Well, there you have it - it's
really not too difficult at all. If you would like
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